Fingerhut Credit Accounts are issued by WebBank, Member FDIC.
Summary: I attribute 50 to 60 points of my 100 point credit score gain to my Fingerhut credit card. Find out how it can help your credit score too… and what the downside is (it’s important).
My credit score has increased quite a bit since I started this credit journey. I am now circling back to review the credit tools I have found to be the most useful.
For those of you that are new to my credit journey, I had a credit score of 475 in January 2019. I have vowed to document each step of my credit journey, both good and bad, to a 700+ credit score.
I think the credit-building tool that has increased my credit score the most is my Fingerhut store card.
On March 11, 2019, I applied for Fingerhut credit.
👉 Important note: There’s no such thing as a free lunch in the credit-building world. A Fingerhut account can help you build credit, but the goods you’ll purchase are much more expensive than they’d be in other stores. Keep that in mind, and buy only inexpensive items and as few items as possible.
How I Raised My Credit Score 100 Points With Fingerhut
When I signed up for Fingerhut, my credit score was 591 (Yes, I had already raised it a LOT by the time I signed up for Fingerhut in March).
👉 If you don’t know your credit score, you can learn how to get it for free by reading our definitive guide to getting a free credit score.
Fingerhut offers an unsecured revolving loan, which is the same type of credit that a traditional credit card offers.
The only difference is that you do not get an actual credit card that can be used anywhere Visa or MasterCard is accepted. Fingerhut credit can only be used to purchase from their online store catalog.
When I applied I was unsure if I’d qualify for unsecured credit since I had been recently declined.
However, everything I had read about Fingerhut was that they gave credit out to just about anybody.
So I applied…
Within seconds, Fingerhut gave me a $1,000 unsecured credit line, issued through Web Bank.
To give you some perspective, I do not think you could qualify for a traditional credit card from any bank in the U.S. with a credit score in the 500’s.
But you can at Fingerhut!
My credit score immediately jumped 29 points when the $1,000 of available credit hit my credit file.
This credit has come in handy. With the $1,000 unsecured credit line, I have purchased multiple brand-name items from their online store.
They offer items such as clothes, kitchen stuff, shoes, outdoor gear, sports equipment, computers, and furniture.
💡 Quick Tip:
Fingerhut will usually increase your credit limit if you make your payments on time. But it gets better…
If you make your payments on time, they will increase your credit limit.
Since March they have increased my credit limit in increments of $300, twice.
Each time they increase my limit, it improves my credit score by 7 to 10 points.
Overall, my credit has increased well over 100 points since the start of my credit journey. Fingerhut has accounted for at least 50 of those points, and I expect it to continue to increase every couple of months.
Even if you have a lower credit score than mine, they offer a FreshStart program together with Fingerhut issued through WebBank, member FDIC, where you order $50 in products, pay $30, and then make monthly payments on the difference of a few dollars a month to build your credit score.
If you make all of your payments on time, they will move you over to their unsecured plan.
How Fingerhut Helps Your Credit Score
Fingerhut credit is the same type of loan that the credit card companies give, a revolving loan.
What this means is that you are given a maximum credit limit that the lender will allow you to borrow.
As you borrow and make payments on your Fingerhut account, your balance will ‘revolve’ up and down within your credit limit.
They call them ‘revolving loans’ because the balances fluctuate.
Your credit utilization ratio is an important part of managing revolving credit.
The credit utilization ratio is the amount of revolving credit that you have divided by the amount of money that you owe.
Say all of your revolving loans have maximum credit limits of $10,000 and the total amount you owe on those loans is $2,500. Simply divide $10,000/$2,000 and you would get your credit utilization ratio: 20%.
Not sure what your credit utilization ratio is?
👉 Use our credit utilization ratio calculator to find out.
When Fingerhut approved me for credit, it added another $1,000 to my available credit limit, which lowered my utilization ratio.
⚠️ Be Careful! Maxing out your credit cards will hurt your credit score. Try to spread the balances around to limit credit score impact.
You want to keep the balance owed on your Fingerhut card as low as possible to keep your utilization ratio low.
What’s the Catch?
If you’ve been around the credit-building scene for any length of time, you’ll know that nothing is free. Anyone offering anything helpful is earning from it somehow.
With Fingerhut, the catch might not be obvious until you compare the prices in the Fingerhut store with prices for the same items in other stores.
Fingerhut products cost much more than the same products at, say, Amazon.com.
For example, this 13-piece name-brand cookware set is listed for $189.99 on Fingerhut. The same set is listed for $139.99 on Amazon. That’s a $50 difference, which is a high price to pay for building credit.
Should You Use Fingerhut?
A Fingerhut account is easy to get and it will do what it says it does. It will place a revolving credit line on your credit report. It will increase your total credit limit, improving your credit utilization. If you make payments on time it will establish a payment record.
It will also take money out of your pocket with every overpriced purchase.
If you’re considering a Fingerhut account, consider these suggestions first.
- Apply for a secured credit card. A secured credit card is also available with bad credit. It will help your credit as much as a Fingerhut card and you can use it anywhere, getting better deals.
- If you get a Fingerhut account, buy inexpensive items and buy as few items as possible. That will keep both your credit utilization and your excess spending low.
- As soon as your credit improves, get a conventional card. The Fingerhut account may help you take the first step on your credit journey but the prices are too high to keep using it beyond those first steps.
The Fingerhut account can be a useful tool for people with no credit or with credit so badly damaged that they can’t get anything else. If you use it carefully and buy as little as possible, you can help your credit without too much overspending.
If you start buying with it regularly, you will lose more than you gain. You’d be better off buying lower-priced products and using the amount you save to pay other debts or build an emergency fund.